Archive for January, 2009

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Our Safety And Our Ideals

January 30, 2009

dennis-trainor-headshotDennis Trainor, Jr • Operation Itch writer/ editor header
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The UpTake is opening up a call for Opinion/Editorial videos. To kick this off, I am happy to say, they have brought me in to provide regular video commentary for them. We do not have a name for the show yet, and look forward to hearing ideas for the show’s name from the audience (leave your ideas in the comments). We also hope that more people feel inspired to send us “video op/eds”. To do just that, follow these instructions:

1) Have something intelligent to say; 2) Record it on a video using your real name; 3) Upload it atwww.tubemogul.com using info@theuptake.org as your log in and uptake411 as your password; 4) Send an email to info@theuptake.org telling us about your video. 

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GEMINI JIVE: “Annals of History: Begging Your Pardon?”

January 30, 2009

me-maskMaralyn Lois Polak • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
©2009 ML Polak
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In the final fatal moments of his lethal Presidency, claiming he was acting to preserve his place in history as well as his legacy as a Compassionate Conservative, Bush-Wah pardoned a rough and ready gang of what his livid critics characterized as “some of the worst evildoers who ever existed in life as well as literature, on the planet, or on the page”– 1,549 past, present, and future villains in all, recipients of executive clemency.

 Among the beneficiaries of GWB’s last-minute legalistic largesse, to say nothing of his reanimating the dead and revitalizing the (sometimes) barely living, were Lizzie Borden, Adolf Hitler, Dr. No, Josef Stalin, Goldfinger, Adolf Eichmann, “Papa Doc” Duvalier, Atilla the Hun, Sherman Adams AND his Vicuna Coat, Raskolnikov, Mussolini, Shylock, the Unabomber, Iago, Lavrentiy P. Beria, Margaret Thatcher, Leopold and Loeb, Falstaff, Cruella De Ville, the Iceman, Carlos the Jackal, Tony Blair, Al Capone, Lyndon Johnson, Jack the Ripper, Norman Bates, and yes, even Saddam Hussein and The Joker. But never Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, or anyone else who really deserves to be pardoned like most of those currently imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, you can bank on that. 

 And yet, revealing a surprising depth and breadth of insight long obscured by his image as a generic booze-coke-and-pretzel-loving-upside-down-children’s-book-reading-911 plot-machinations-country-hijacking-good-ole-boy, GWB’s solid, sophisticated deconstructive Shakespearean analysis of heroes and villains is worthy of a Lifetime Chair in Criminal Psychology at Harvard, let alone the last gasps of the Ultimate Lamer, er, Lame Duck:

 

“While a Hero represents ‘the perfect man,’ I don’t know any, except maybe my brothers and my father. Sure, Shylock’s an outsider not only because he’s actually Jewish and the rest of the town’s Christian, but also because he has a different value system. Like me, in Washington, only in reverse. Shylock makes it clear he enjoys his role as an outsider when he tells Bassanio. ‘I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you’ (I.3.33-35). In Shakespeare’s play, Shylock’s both victim and villain. Like, he’s a decider and a people person, like me. See, he gets betrayed by his only daughter when she elopes with a Christian and loots his house of all the gold and jewels. Although he’s angry about the loss of his prize material possessions, he’s devastated when he learns his daughter also sold a memento which was very important to him, you know, a sentimental thing. This shows Shylock’s definitely not just motivated merely by financial gain. Let’s face it, he could have been an ordinary Texas oilman, who ran a baseball team, and somehow, through an accident of fate, or family connections, or the right folks pulling the strings of the election machines, became President instead.”

 However, Bush 43’s misplaced generosity with this deluded avalanche of pardons, exceeding even Bill Clinton’s megalomaniacal excesses, seems to have spurred a seriously contentious fissure in his own family, with his wife Laura tearfully calling a global press-conference at 3 AM on the eve of the Inauguration. “My fellow Americans, and our overseas friends, I’m here to tell you I’m creeped out,” she admits. “I know my George has a big heart. I know he secretly roots for the bad guys, I mean, underdogs. But the notion of all those freed miscreants roaming the defenseless streets of our afflicted nation, well, I swear I’ll never sleep again, so help me, Lord. And I don’t know how my dear sweet husband, who had his own two darling daughters to protect until they managed a flimsy pretext to escape his clutches, I mean, leave home, could ever do that to Obama’s little girls, exposing those adorable darlings to all that potential danger of a pent-up Norman Bates suddenly let loose. As for me, I’m afraid to take a shower ever again. Oh, George!”
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Outsourcing War: American Mercenary Forces Exploit Remnants of Old Dictatorship

January 30, 2009

alex wAlex W • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
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A subject that has always interested me is the continuing effects on society of having lived through a dictatorship or totalitarian rule. This is an important topic for the United States, because we live in a society that has supported dictatorships for many years, and as nations are emerging from the turmoil inflicted upon them by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War, we’re starting to see the long-term effects. We need to pay attention, and avoid continuing to cause these problems for future generations.

One obviously can point out that today we reap what we sewed; World War II fractured the Middle East, because of its oil, the U.S.S.R. tried to take advantage of it, we armed the militant fundamentalists to fight them, and then we tried to gain control of the oil for ourselves. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard the arguments.

What I’d like to focus on now is the condition in South America, where the U.S. took similar action against the spread of, in most cases, democratically-elected governments which we considered a little too pinkish. The military dictatorships we helped financially and in some cases militarily tortured and killed thousands in the name of fighting terrorism. An entire generation in several nations were in very real danger. The crimes punishable by death in clandestine torture chambers varied from being a militant revolutionary, being a communist or socialist, or simply going to college or helping the poor.

I’ll save my comparison of the long-term effects this has had on society and the adamant human rights organizations that came out of this to what may happen in the future due to the new U.S. torture and detainment policies for a later date, but you can expect an article on it. For now I want to address the issue of the stagnant throwbacks which remain sympathetic to an overthrown dictatorship.
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Hey Natalie Dylan, Here’s Some Advice for Selling Your Viginity

January 30, 2009

Liz Langley, AlterNet.   more posts in Sex & Relationships   header.jpg

“Virtue has never been as respectable as money.” — Mark Twain

“I always thought of losing my virginity as a career move.” — Madonna

Obama, Blagojevich, the economy, Gitmo, torture, Mickey Rourke … it’s been a juicy news month. So, who do you have to screw to get a little attention around here?

The answer: The highest acceptable bidder.

We are now officially in the 15 minutes of Natalie Dylan, the pseudonym of the enterprising 22-year-old who is auctioning off her virginity through the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada as part of a thesis project for a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy (she recently completed her BA in women’s studies from California State University, Sacramento). The bidding began in September and, as of this writing, is up to $3.7 million.

Natalie’s maiden muff is hers to do with as she wishes — sexual desires, values and limits vary wildly, and as long as no one gets hurt, t’ain’t nobody’s business what you do. We just wonder — what if some religious group buys it and decides to keep it intact forever?

Any pro-virginity faction could pool some loot and once the “Sold!” sign is planted (but not too deep) — WHAM! — on goes the chastity belt. Then she’ll be screwed — or not — for life. Imagine getting punk’d by Ned Flanders.
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The Said and the Unsaid

January 26, 2009

mail Ashley Sanders • Operation Itch Contributing Writerheader

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 “Enough, one must go on, these are things that one thinks but does not say.” –Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

“It was their everyday duty.” –Primo Levi, on Nazi brutality

I recently read the morning paper. I shouldn’t have done that. I also recently read Survival in Auschwitz, by Primo Levi. I shouldn’t have done that either, but for different reasons: it demanded too much grief and asked too many questions. Less recently, I went to a public meeting about a new pet-coke plant that Consolidated Energy wants to put next-to-the-refinery-next-to-the-freeway-next-to-the-asthmatic’s-worst-nightmare. I also shouldn’t have done that, and not just because it involved fighting odious big business practices, but because I never feel as lonely as I do in political meetings where everyone agrees with me.

There is a connection between the shouldn’ts, but that will have to wait.

This time there were about 500 hundred people who agreed with me. They had brought signs and their kids, and also their kids covered in signs that said things like: “Don’t make me breathe dirty air.” The Department of Environmental Quality was leading the meeting, and a sad-looking man behind a microphone was trying to assure people that, not to worry, the coke plant wouldn’t exceed DEQ standards and that – even though pet-coke was the dirtiest residue of the fuel extraction process, and even though it would be shipped across the country in open-air train cars, and even though the area surrounding the refinery already was three times the limit of normal air quality levels, and even though the citizens wouldn’t even get the power that was generated, and even though we did not need another power plant, and even though the world was rife with alternatives – he was bound and obligated to approve it. The man was summarily booed, and by people who had never said boo in their lives before: booed by women with acrylic nails and tiffany heart bracelets next to a man with coveralls and a trucker hat, also booing.
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CDB#5: Light it up

January 26, 2009

zack Zack Charles • Operation Itch Video   • header

(lyrics below the break)
  
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Lefties Feel the Recession More than Most

January 26, 2009

kevinby Kevin Egan • Operation Itch Contributing Writer   header 

 more  in HUMOR   read all posts by Kevin Egan
 

Pitcher, "Lefty" Gomez in 1908. 

Pitcher, “Lefty” Gomez in 1908.

 

 

 

 

America's most famous "Lefty."

Ben Franklin: America’s most famous “Lefty.”

 

SAN DIEGO (AP)- After conducting a nationwide survey of numerous factions of Americans, The Center for Demographic Research released startling results today, concluding that left-handed people have been hit hardest by the current recession, more than any other category of Americans. 

“It seems that many left-handed people have been the first to be laid off at work,” said Nancy Frightenwood, spokesperson for The Center.  “In the blue collar world, most machines are built for right-handed people, which leaves the lefties at a disadvantage. And in the white collar world, it seems that simple things like office supplies can cause trouble for Lefties, slowing down their productivity and contribution to the company as a whole.” 

Many left-handed Americans, or “Lefties,” are grateful for the survey and the attention it has brought to their plight.  Massive demonstrations are currently being planned in multiple cities across the country, protesting the prejudice that has singled out lefties in these hard economic times.  In addition, Thursday, Jaunary 29th, is being dubbed, “National Left-handed Awareness Day,” to help shed some light on this troubling trend.         

Samuel Bluck, 53, of Indianapolis, Indiana, one of many left-handed people currently left unemployed by the recession, had recently been let go from his job at the Eddington Scissor Factory, causing “a double wham-y,” as Bluck described his situation, since not only had the machinery that built the scissors been designed for right-handed use, the scissors themselves were made exclusively for right-handed people as well.    

“There were times I found it almost impossible to test the scissors to see if they functioned correctly,” Bluck says.  “I knew when lay-offs were announced, I’d be the first to go.  I could see it in my foreman’s eye.”   

Gretta Dench, 41, of San Diego, California, also felt the pinch of the recession when she was relieved of her job with the banking firm of Addison and Flight, a job she had held for over twelve years.
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